Building Capacity and Communities in DRC
NEW YORK, May 8, 2007—A groundbreaking conference between the episcopal areas of the United Methodist Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the United Methodist Committee on Relief forged the beginning of an ongoing relationship of learning and increased capacity for development.
Growing the Church's Capacity
The meeting, held March 26-30, 2007 in Lubumbashi, was a collaborative effort that grew out of the need for church workers to be better equipped to develop and sustain development programs in their communities. Dr. Robert K. Mpoyo, executive secretary of Global Ministries' Africa Office saw the opportunity for the church to take advantage of UMCOR's presence in the Congo. "They have a big heart, but they don't have the skills," said Dr. Mpoyo of the desire for church workers to respond to needs in their communities. They wanted to establish effective programs that help their communities recover from decades of war, however they lacked the know-how.
Dr. Mpoyo worked with Aaron Marshall, then head of mission for UMCOR's Congo office, to develop a capacity building conference to help church workers increase their skills in developing successful and sustainable programs. "It was clear that there is a distinct role for the church and its mission in development," said Marshall of the need to support the church's efforts.
Topics such as needs assessment, developing sustainable programs and locating sources of funding were covered in the conference sessions. Additionally, experts in particular fields such as agriculture, micro credit, education, health and community development taught the group about the specific needs for programs in each of these areas.
New Programs, New Hope
The conference culminated in participants identifying a critical project for their area and writing a proposal for the new program. Participants planned programs that stimulate agricultural production; repair or construct schools; wells, and homes, and encourage better education, health and nutrition in their communities. UMCOR will continue to provide support for these programs by following up on the newly developed projects as they grow from idea to reality.
Plans for future conferences of this kind are already in the works. In the next phase both groups will continue to work on the individual projects that are already initiated as well as take steps forward to establishing new ways to work together in development.
How You Can Help
Cash gifts will help provide for UMCOR's work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Checks can be mailed to UMCOR PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Write "UMCOR Advance #198400, DRC Emergency," on the memo line of your check. One hundred percent of every donation to any appeal, including appeals for the Congo, goes to support the designated program.